“Millions of people in Africa’s Sahel region need urgent help to cope with food shortages brought on by erratic rainfall and drought, and at least one million children in the area face malnutrition next year, U.N. agencies warned,” AlertNet reports. “The World Food Programme (WFP), which called for a new type of response to climate-related crises, estimates that between five and seven million people in the semi-arid zone just south of the Sahara need assistance now,” and it “said the situation would worsen if nothing was done to help the countries in need — as more people are expected to run out of food supplies by February and March next year,” the news service writes (Fominyen, 12/9).
“Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25 percent globally since 2000, and by 33 percent in the WHO African Region, according to the World Malaria Report 2011, issued [Tuesday] by [the] WHO,” the organization reports in a press release. “This is the result of a significant scaling-up of malaria prevention and control measures in the last decade,” the press release adds. However, the press release notes, “WHO warns that a projected shortfall in funding threatens the fragile gains and that the double challenge of emerging drug and insecticide resistance needs to be proactively addressed” (12/13).
The U.N. on Tuesday issued its 2012 consolidated appeal process (CAP), or joint appeal, for $1.5 billion to fund 350 projects in Somalia, “where famine and conflict have already cost tens of thousands of lives,” the Guardian reports (Chonghaile, 12/13). “The $1.5 billion appeal is based on a realistic assessment of the emergency needs of four million people in crisis, tens of thousands of whom will die without assistance,” Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, said, Agence France-Presse notes.
“The question of who is responsible for Haiti’s cholera epidemic — the first that the Caribbean nation, the western hemisphere’s poorest, has seen in a century — has raised tempers since the first case was detected in October 2010,” TIME reports in an article examining a lawsuit filed against the U.N. claiming it is responsible for bringing the disease into the country and seeking damages for cholera victims and their families.
Africa’s Sahel region is facing a potential “food crisis,” “[b]ut the good news is that the world’s Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET) is giving West African countries and donor nations a period of time to prepare, says the aid group Oxfam,” the Christian Science Monitor reports. “Early reports suggest that as many as six million people in Niger and 2.9 million people in Mali live in vulnerable areas, where low rainfall, falling groundwater levels, poor harvests, lack of pastureland, rising food prices, and a drop in remittances from family members living abroad are starting to take their toll,” according to the newspaper.
The BBC News audio program “Assignment” reports on the cholera epidemic in Haiti “and examines the controversy that surrounds it.” Correspondent Mark Doyle traces the alleged origin of the disease in Haiti, which had not recorded a case of the disease in about a century, discusses the U.N. report on the situation, and talks about how “families of cholera victims are now demanding compensation” (12/16).
A three-year study conducted by the WHO, Aga Khan University, and the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) “has identified key interventions to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths,” PANA/Afrique en Ligne reports. “According to the study â€¦ there is global consensus on the key evidence-based interventions that will sharply reduce the 358,000 women who still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth and the 7.6 million children who die before the age of five,” the news service writes (12/15).
The UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board “convened from 13-15 December to review and follow up on recommendations of the 2011 U.N. General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS,” a UNAIDS press release states. “The Board took note of the progress made by countries and civil society organizations in implementing the 2011 Political Declaration…
The U.N. on Sunday released its Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2012, asking for $447 million in humanitarian assistance targeted toward four million vulnerable people in the country, Reuters reports (Fuchs, 12/18). A statement from the U.N. Inter-Agency Standing Committee said more than half of those at risk will be “severely food insecure” in the coming year, Agence France-Presse notes.
This Lancet Infectious Diseases editorial responds to the Global HIV/AIDS Response 2011 progress report (.pdf) launched by the WHO, UNICEF, and UNAIDS on November 30, writing that the report “contains much good news on treatment and prevention, but the gains made by past efforts are jeopardized by the ongoing global financial crisis and dwindling funds.”